Egyptian media outlets are again linking Hamas to violence in the country stretching back to the 2011 Egyptian Arab Spring. Earlier this week Egypt’s former interior minister floated the suggestion that Hamas had a hand in fomenting unrest during the revolution, which saw the overthrow of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and the subsequent election of a Muslim Brotherhood-linked government. Mansour al-Essawy’s somewhat vague insinuations were met with skepticism, inasmuch as he had a motive to blame the increasingly-unpopular Iran-backed terror group for violence that he has since been criticized for seeking to put down.
Now what looked like a one-off conspiracy theory is beginning to seem like an initial shot across the bow. The daily Al-Masry Al-Youm has has published details of telephone transcripts between Muslim Brotherhood figures and Hamas officials, in which the two groups collaborated on pressuring security forces working to bolster the regime.
The details are, if nothing else, specific:
It appears that the Brotherhood knew in advance about the protests which erupted on January 25 – and that they participated in the planning. The first two calls took place between senior Brotherhood members before the mass demonstrations of January 25 and 27. On the 21st, one of them mentions preparations for the demonstrations and adds, “Don’t worry, we shall be helped by our neighbors.” The following day, he says, “Things are okay, the neighbors are ready.” In both cases, “Hamas” may be substituted in place of “neighbors.”
On the 24th, one day before the demonstration, a high-ranking Brotherhood member asks a Hamas official if they know exactly what they are supposed to do; “absolutely,” answers his correspondent.
There is another call on February 2, when the mass protests are reaching a paroxysm. An agitated Brotherhood member asks, “Where are you, I don’t see any of your people,” and the Hamas official replies, “Don’t worry, we are behind the museum [the Egyptian Museum on Tahrir Square] with our slingshots at the ready.”
The last conversation took place on February 11, after the resignation of Mubarak. The Hamas official congratulates the senior Brotherhood member, saying that “this is our victory also.” The Brotherhood members replies: “You have helped us and we owe you. We shall meet soon.”
The accusations come against the backdrop of a media cold war being waged between Egyptian security forces and Hamas. Egyptian army officials hold Hamas responsible for a string of terror attacks on Egyptian soil, and has been saying as much to journalists, diplomats, and thinkers.
[Photo: Avocato / Wiki Commons]